An Inside Look into the Plan for the 116th Congress of the United States

The Democrats’ Plan For the New Congress

By: Dejon Virgo

Democrats may make significant gains in Congress following their House majority. (Credit: Madison.com)

The midterm elections of 2018 were a while ago and it is official that Democrats will take back the House after 8 years of Republican control. This gives Democrats a seat at the negotiating table for legislation.

On January 3rd 2018, the new Congress will be in session. Democrats will have 234 seats in the House and Republicans will have 201 seats.

In the Senate, Democrats will have 47 seats and Republicans will hold the majority with 53 seats.

President Donald Trump will now wake up to a new Congress with a different goal in mind for the coming year. Trump will focus on getting reelected in the 2020 presidential race.

Democrats have two main goals they plan to focus on while having control of the House: investigate and legislate.

Many Democrats will use their victory to put a check on Trump and all the shady business that’s been going on during his first two years in office.

According to ABC News, Democrats are planning to investigate Trump’s tax returns, his family business, and his Cabinet.

Elijah Cummings, the representative from Maryland’s 7th district, is likely going to be the chair of the oversight committee where he will have the power to order subpoenas. He has 64 subpoenas to be issued when he becomes chair.

Cummings is not the only Trump enemy to become chair of a powerful committee. Representative Adam Schiff  will be chair of the House intelligence committee where he said he wants to re-open the House’s investigation of Russia.

Representative Maxine Waters will be chair of the House financial services committee where she will have the power to subpoena Trump’s tax returns.

Jerrold Nadler will be chair of the House judiciary committee. He is ready to investigate Trump for his tax returns, business deals, and Cabinet. The Cabinet has caused some concern for its outrageous spending habits.

The new Democratic House also has plans to oversee the Trump administration by holding a hearing on the family separation policy rolled out in the summer of 2017 and the addition of U.S. troops to the southern border.

They will also oversee other conflicts of interest, such as Ivanka Trump’s use of a private email to carry out government business, according to The Washington Post.

Democrats can’t just investigate and provide oversight, they must also show that they can pass legislation. Many have promised voters that they will fight to protect pre-existing conditions such as DACA.

The Democrats may have won the House but the Senate and Presidency still belong to the Republicans. They can’t work on legislation that leans too left, so bipartisanship is key for the Democrats.

Democrats and Republicans share common views when it comes to criminal justice reform, infrastructure, and drug prices. These are topics that for now have bipartisan support and can be passed through Congress.

Nancy Pelosi, who may become Speaker of the House, has called for bipartisanship in a press conference following Election Day. “We will strive for bipartisanship. We believe that we have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can. Where we cannot must stand our ground, but we must try.”

Immigration, taxes, and Obamacare will continue to be hot-button issues that the two parties disagree on. Any attempt to pass legislation on these issues will likely be met with gridlock.  

In early 2017, there was a deal between the Trump administration and Democrats to give DACA recipients citizenship in exchange for border wall funding.

Trump backed out of this deal because he wanted to include an end to “chain migration” and the visa lottery system.

This deal may resurface because Trump’s signature promise to his supporters is to build the wall on the southern border, and many Democrats want to protect the Dreamers.

The 116th Congress will consist of a Democrat and Republican majority seeking to learn to govern with divided views. The question is whether both parties can maintain bipartisanship when they take office in January.

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